News of the Church

By Jay M. Todd


Elder David B. Haight Called to Council of the Twelve

Elder David B. Haight

Elder David B. Haight, an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve for the past six years, has been called to the Council of the Twelve by President Spencer W. Kimball to fill the vacancy created by the recent death of Elder Hugh B. Brown.

The ordination of Elder Haight to the holy apostleship occurred Thursday, January 8, in the Salt Lake Temple, and came a little over five weeks following the death of Elder Brown on December 2, 1975.

Although born and raised in Idaho, the new member of the Twelve has spent the bulk of his adult life in California, where he became known in business, civic, and Church circles for his impressive understanding and leadership of people, and for his expertise in management.

Since his call on April 6, 1970, to serve as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, Elder Haight has traveled throughout the Church in his weekly conference assignments and has become respected and loved for his skill in teaching priesthood leaders how to fulfill their callings.

“I’ve been what you call an organizational man. I’ve become concerned that our people—all of our people—understand their important roles in building the kingdom of God. When I go to a stake conference, my first major objective has been to try to help leaders understand their important leadership roles. I’m the kind of person who enjoys using a chalkboard from the time I start holding meetings with the stake presidencies, the high councils, and the bishops to the time I finish. We talk a lot together. I try to let them see how reasonable and effective the organization of the Church really is—and how it will affect the lives of their people if they will do what the First Presidency has asked and organize the way the Church suggests. I enjoy helping others see how everything falls into place—how beautifully it falls into place—and how it will work for the blessing of their people when they organize properly and then carry out their assignments.”

When these stimulating conferences are over, Elder Haight returns again to Church headquarters and his family, to whom he is unstintingly devoted. He and his wife, Sister Ruby Haight, will celebrate their forty-sixth wedding anniversary this year and are the parents of three married children: Mrs. Jon M. (Karen) Huntsman of Salt Lake City, David B. Haight, Jr., of Menlo Park, California, and Robert P. Haight of Sandy, Utah. “I have a son who is a bishop,” Elder Haight says, “and I like to call Robert and say, ‘How are you spending your time, Bishop?’ Then he might say, ‘Well, I have these things at the ward to do,’ and I say, ‘Well, the Church expects you to have your family come first.’

“I have often said to our leaders, ‘You may turn out to be a great bishop or stake president and lose some member of your family through neglect. We even had a prophet speak about that, you know: “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” That’s just as true as it can be. So, as leaders and members, all of us need to learn what our roles and responsibilities are—in our families and in the Church—and see how they fall together to bless ourselves and others.’

“That raises the second thing I try to do when I meet and work with people. I love to try to help people see what comes into their lives when they take the spotlight off themselves and put it on someone else, when they give service to others. I have always cherished a statement from Emerson’s essays: ‘Rings and jewels are not gifts, but only apologies for gifts.’ The only real gift is a portion of oneself. Service to others is an inherent part of the gospel. For me it was beautifully taught by the Savior when he answered the question about what was the greatest law. Some scholars say that the Jews had 613 laws and regulations that governed their lives—how they planted their crops, harvested them, cleaned the vegetables, washed, and so forth. And in the midst of all this, they ask the Savior, ‘Which is the greatest commandment?’ And He cut through all their small talk and said, ‘The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord, and the second is like unto it, to love your neighbor.’ (See Matt. 22:35–40.) Well, that whole approach builds service. If you love the Lord, you are going to worry about his work and about the success of it. If you love your neighbor, you are going to worry about your neighbor, about your friends, about your associates, your husband, your wife, your children—and if you worry about them, that brings service into the picture. Why? Because you’re going to do something for them. So the Lord just built service into the entire plan!”

One of the most captivating personality traits of the new member of the Council of the Twelve is that these sentiments and ideas, so easily and naturally expressed by him, are at this point in his life far more than just ideas to him. He is now sixty-nine and comes to this new calling after a lifetime of nurturing and testing the principles of the gospel in many diverse settings and environments. When he says in his warm, straightforward manner, “The gospel works; I tell you it works,” the listener knows that he speaks from experience.

This experience has been most varied. He was born in Oakley, Idaho, September 9, 1906, and grew up in that small country town. His grandfather was the first stake president of the Cassia Idaho Stake, and his father (who died when Elder Haight was nine years old) was the town’s banker, an Idaho state senator, and a bishop. In his teens young David Haight obtained a teaching certificate so that he could earn enough money to attend a university. He graduated in business administration at twenty-two from Utah State University. Two years later he married Ruby Olson, and they drove to California where he was to manage a new branch of a department store.

Elder David B. and Sister Ruby Haight

Elder David B. and Sister Ruby Haight.

He has spent most of his professional life in management within the merchandising industry returning to the Rockies four years later to be general merchandising manager of Salt Lake City’s ZCMI; then moving on to Montgomery Ward, where he supervised 25 stores in the San Diego, California, area; then going to Oakland in northern California to serve as district manager. All this was interrupted by World War II, however. During the war he rose to the rank of commander in the U.S. Navy, overseeing the logistics and tactical operations of getting supplies to the right places at the right time in the Pacific. His performance earned him great personal and official military commendation. Following the war he was reassigned by Montgomery Ward to Chicago, where he supervised 165 stores and thousands of employees, and then in 1951, at the age of 45, he decided to try out his merchandising ideas on his own and acquired several hardware stores in Palo Alto, California.

While in Palo Alto, he was called from his assignment as a junior high councilor to serve as stake president—and while he was stake president was asked to run for the city council. This led to two terms as mayor of Palo Alto and to appointments as director of the Stanford University–Palo Alto Hospital, Channing House Retirement Center, and to much civic service amongst business, professional, and university leaders.

Having tested gospel ideas in many applications, Elder Haight was now ready to help others be similarly successful: President David O. McKay called him to serve as president of the Scottish Mission. Following this experience he served as a member of the Priesthood Missionary Committee and then as a Regional Representative of the Twelve prior to his 1970 call to serve as an Assistant to the Twelve. During this time he moved to Provo, Utah, where he served three years as assistant to President Ernest L. Wilkinson at Brigham Young University, principally in building the school’s successful endowment program.

His call to the apostleship came at about 2 P.M. Thursday, January 8. “I was in a meeting and my secretary received a call that President Kimball wanted to see me. Of course, those telephone calls get attention, so I left the room and dialed the number given me. I didn’t know where the extension was, and President Kimball answered and said, ‘David, I am over in the temple, and I would like to talk to you about an important matter. Can you come right over?’ I want to say that that walk over was a walk I’ll always remember. I wondered if I had said something at a stake conference that I needed straightening up on. I wondered if I was not doing my assignments well as director of the Melchizedek Priesthood Department [where Elder Haight has overseen priesthood quorum instruction and training, Melchizedek Priesthood MIA, leadership training, teacher development, military relations, home teaching, family home evening, and the Lamanite Committee]. A lot of things went through my mind, but I never had any thought about filling that vacancy in the Twelve. I have regarded myself as being at the bottom of the totem pole of the list of great men in the Church who could have been called. I never even imagined it, really. I’ve never coveted an office in this Church. Never. When I arrived, President Kimball took me into a room and told me of the call. It was an experience I will never forget.

“When I was young, just a lad in Idaho, I used to worry about how the great theologians and thinkers of the world might make the Church and Latter-day Saints look. I was aware of their great, broad concepts of man and their humanity. But, over the years, I have worked with, met, conversed with, and observed many significant persons—in business, in the military, in university settings. I have learned that the little worry I had as a youth was without foundation. I have learned that the great concepts I thought others might have that might outshine our concepts are not there. With my own eyes and ears, and with my own experience, I tell you that the Lord has it. He has it all—the great concepts, the truths, the joys, the organization, the plan, the vision for all of our happiness. I am happy to be able to bear this witness. I want people to know how I feel about the gospel, how I feel about the great and glorious role that it has in saving people and helping them develop a vision of the eternities. There is nothing on earth to compare with it. Nothing else! The Lord and his plan are our answer.”

New Information On Church Policies

The following items of general interest appeared in MESSAGES to stake and district presidents, bishops, and branch presidents.

Sponsoring Members to Come to the Temple. It has come to our attention that some classes and quorums in wards and stakes, as well as seminary groups, are sponsoring members from other countries to come to the temple by raising funds to bring them to the United States. Although this type of project is praiseworthy, the results often seem partial and unfair to those who are not recipients. In the future this practice should be discontinued. It is recommended that groups desiring to raise funds for the purpose of assisting individuals to obtain their temple blessings contribute these funds toward the construction of new temples rather than sponsor individual families. Contributions may be submitted through the Church Financial Department. (The Office of the First Presidency)”

Family Relations Course. A new 12-week Family Relations course to be taught in Sunday School is now available and supersedes all other Family Relations courses previously offered in Sunday School, including classes using the family home evening manual as the text.

All married couples should be informed about the course and should be encouraged to enroll in one of the classes. Each class should be limited to no more than ten couples. Occasionally the bishop may invite a particular couple to participate in the class.

Upon completion of the course, the participants return to the Gospel Doctrine class and a new group begins the Family Relations course. … All wards and branches are encouraged to commence this new Family Relations course in Sunday School as soon as possible, utilizing only the approved new course materials. (Sunday School)”

Area General Conferences Slated for United Kingdom and Europe

The First Presidency has announced area general conferences for the United Kingdom and for Europe.

The conferences in the United Kingdom will be held June 18, 19, and 20 in London and Manchester, England, and June 21 and 22 in Glasgow, Scotland.

From July 31 through August 8 there will be area conferences in Paris, France; Helsinki, Finland; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dortmund, Germany; and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Each conference will be under the direction of the First Presidency, and other General Authorities will be present to participate in the various meetings.

In a letter to local priesthood leaders, the First Presidency has invited the Saints living in southern England, Wales, and Ireland to attend the London conference, those living in the Midlands and northern England to attend the Manchester conference, and those living in Scotland to attend the Glasgow conference.

The Saints in France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the French-speaking Swiss have been invited to attend the Paris conference to be held July 31 and August 1.

Members in the Finland Helsinki Mission will attend the Helsinki conference, August 2 and 3. The Copenhagen conference, August 3, 4, and 5, will be the gathering place for the Saints from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

The German-speaking members of Switzerland as well as the Saints living in Germany and Austria will meet together in Dortmund August 6, 7, and 8.

Saints from The Hague Holland Stake, and the Netherlands Amsterdam Mission will attend the Amsterdam conference August 6, 7, and 8.

Each conference will feature special sessions for the general membership, priesthood sessions for fathers and their sons, mother-daughter sessions, and a cultural program.

To best utilize the time of the First Presidency and the attendant General Authorities while they are in the United Kingdom and Europe, some of the conference sessions are scheduled during the week, but the Saints are already planning their vacations so that they can fully participate and enjoy the blessings and the spirit that come with meeting with the Brethren.

These area general conferences in the United Kingdom and in Europe were preceded earlier this year by conferences in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific islands of Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and Fiji.

The very first area general conference was held in Manchester, England, in August 1971. European Saints attended a conference in Munich in 1973, and the Scandinavian Saints gathered together in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1974.

[map] Area General Conferences: United Kingdom and Europe

BYU Receives Support on Stand against Sex Bias Rules

Brigham Young University’s opposition to the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Title IX regulations, which would introduce federal government control into the affairs of private educational institutions, was applauded at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities.

The 114 members of the association resolved to seek relief “by all appropriate means” from the increasing government control over their institutions, and specifically mentioned the Title IX regulations as “the most recent and most objectionable examples of attempts to extend federal control.”

The regulations were recently published to enforce Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX deals with sex discrimination in federally assisted educational programs in such areas as hiring, salary, housing accommodations, and athletic programs.

The majority of U.S. educational institutions are state-run and rely heavily upon federal aid to administer their various programs. But other colleges receive financial support from their sponsoring agency, as BYU does from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As the HEW regulations now stand, BYU and other privately operated educational institutions would have to submit to policy decisions made by HEW and could not administer their own affairs in keeping with their own religious and moral beliefs. According to HEW, if educational institutions receive federal financial aid, even indirectly, the entire college is subject to federal regulations. Although BYU does not receive federal funding, the acceptance of federal aid—such as G.I. Bill assistance or a federally backed student loan—by even one of its 25,000 students would threaten its independence as a privately operated university.

Following publication of the HEW regulations, educational institutions across the nation had ninety days in which to publicly declare their compliance or objections.

In a statement challenging the constitutionality of the HEW regulations, BYU President Dallin H. Oaks said that “Title IX (the statutory law) forbids sex discrimination in every ‘education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.’ However, the regulations issued by the Department [of Health, Education, and Welfare] purport to dictate policies and activities in many areas of the University, whether or not such policies or activities involve ‘education’ and whether or not they concern a ‘program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.’ The regulations effectively ignore these important qualifying words in the statute. They extend government powers well beyond those granted by the statute by insisting that if any part or area of an institution receives direct or indirect federal financial assistance (such as by enrolling students who receive federal aid), then the entire institution is subject to federal regulation.

“We reject this all-inclusive interpretation, believing that many of the regulations are unlawful because they exceed the Department’s statutory authority under Title IX.”

President Oaks’ statement emphasized, “Our stand in opposition to these regulations should not be taken as defiance of the law or the federal government. We believe our position is lawful—that it is the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare that is violating the constitutional and statutory law.

“The Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University endorse the goal of equal opportunity for men and women in education and employment. Brigham Young University does not discriminate on the basis of sex among its students or employees, or among applicants for admission or employment.”

In a press conference at which the statement was released, President Oaks pointed out that some of the regulations are vague. As an example, he cited the ruling that “separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities” for the different sexes must be “comparable.”

“We cannot believe,” said President Oaks, “that HEW would be so absurd as to require that men’s and women’s rest room facilities contain identical sanitary fixtures …”

President Oaks added, “We also believe that some of the regulations are unconstitutional as applied to a Church-related institution because they violate the prohibition against the establishment of religion and the free exercise thereof.”

Reports of BYU’s stand against the HEW regulations were carried in practically every newspaper in the country. Clippings received at BYU run into the hundreds and while the majority of the editorial opinions expressed therein are favorable, some are critical of BYU for taking any stand that is interpreted by the media as being not beneficial to women.

On the BYU campus, the University’s stand has received the full support of the students and faculty. When President Oaks presented his statement to the faculty, he received a standing ovation.

In noting that BYU challenges parts of six of the forty-three regulations issued by HEW, President Oaks has made it clear that “BYU will comply with any regulations which the courts ultimately sustain as lawful.”

The challenge to the HEW regulations apply also to Brigham Young University—Hawaii Campus; the LDS Business College, Salt Lake City; and Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho, all Church-sponsored educational institutions.

The only other U.S. institution at this writing to announce its opposition to parts of the Title IX regulations is Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan, whose president is a member of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities.

The association has also gone on record as being opposed to the “imposition of government regulatory schemes upon privately supported institutions based upon imputed tax and other indirect benefits.”

Of particular concern is the recent United States Internal Revenue Service’s ruling that threatens to remove tax exemption and deductibility of contributions from independent institutions that fail to comply with government requirements on their student admission and hiring policies.

Although association members expressed strong support for equal opportunities in higher education for all persons, regardless of race, creed, or sex, they noted that the association is committed to preserve genuinely independent higher education in the United States.

BYU’s President Oaks, who has represented the association at Congressional hearings on Title IX, was elected president of the association at the recent meeting.

[photo] President Dallin H. Oaks